Text of report by Cambridge-based independent Broadband TV News website, on 29 November
A Sky News branded channel in the Arabic language is to make its debut in the MENA region following an agreement between Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp (ADMIC), a private investment company owned by HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).
The Abu Dhabi-based channel will make its debut in 2012, staffed by a team of 180 multimedia journalists, and newsgathering operations elsewhere in MENA. In addition to offices in London and Washington DC the channel will also have access to Sky News’ facilities around the world. The venture will be based in new studios to be developed at Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 media zone.
“The new channel will be an important, independent voice for the Arab world, providing accurate and in-depth reporting of all the interesting developments in the region,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chairman, ADMIC. “The addition of Sky News in Arabic to the numerous Abu Dhabi based media outlets will further contribute to this sector’s growth and position Abu Dhabi as the region’s media hub.”
Launched in 1989, Sky News is available in 90 million homes around the world, though its news agenda continues to place an emphasis on domestic UK stories. “This venture is a significant step in the development of Sky News. We intend to bring viewers a distinctive approach to Arabic news, building on Sky News’ strong reputation for independent, impartial and innovative coverage,” said John Ryley, head of Sky News.
Talks were confirmed in July after it was announced that Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal had formed a partnership with News Corp’s Fox News, one of an increasing number of news services in the region that also includes Al Jazeera and the BBC Arabic TV service.
(Source: Broadband TV News website, Cambridge, in English 29 Nov 10 via BBC Monitoring)